Ancient and classical cultures

Isis bust

The Ancient and Classical Cultures are well represented by artefacts from Egypt dating from the Predynastic to Graeco-Roman Periods. The Predynastic and Early Dynastic artefacts, mainly pottery, are from Kafr-Tarkhan and were excavated by Flinders Petrie. A catalogue of Tarkhan ceramics is available. The collection also includes objects from Tell el-Amarna, which were excavated by Petrie, as well as artefacts excavated by Sir Guy Brunton. 

Forming part of the Ancient Near Eastern collection are cuneiform tablets that are mostly of Neo-Babylonian origin, with one being Sumerian. These are mainly from the Offord collection and have been translated by Peter Hulin. They are mentioned in The Neo-Babylonian Ebabbar Temple at Sippar: its administration and its prosopography by A.C.V.M. Bongenaar published by ‘Het Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut’ in Istanbul in 1997. Babylonian and Akkadian cylinder seals from the De Pass collection are also represented.


From Greece is the valuable De Pass collection of Attic Red-figure vases and Attic Black-figure vases. Some of them are listed in Sir John Beazley’s books. John Boardman and Maurice Pope undertook published research on the vases. Black-and-white photographs are available. 

Rome is also well presented by various pieces obtained by donation or purchase. The collection includes ancient Roman glass, ceramic lamps, medical instruments and other pieces of ceramics.